Posts Tagged ‘green sports summit’

2015: A Year of Sustainability and Social Cause

December 30, 2015

SE Team Photo 2015.pngOur team has kept busy this year with a variety of events geared at advancing sustainability and social cause. Combined, over 4,000 attendees and change-makers came together to champion the green movement through our 14 events in 2015.

We are thankful for our continued partnerships and were elated to work on several new events in 2015. Here are some highlights:

The Green Sports Alliance brought us to Chicago this year for their annual Summit. Along with keynotes, breakout sessions and workshops, the event had venue tours, a special performance by spoken-word artist Prince EA, and a reception that kicked-off with a Chicago Bears drum line!

We got to B the Change at B’Corporation’s B Inspired event in October. As a registered B Corporation, it was an honor to share the organization’s values with over 1,000 attendees through TED-style talks, an outdoor festival at Pioneer Square, and a concert at the historic Crystal Ballroom. B Inspired’s motto was: sometimes to make a change you have to throw a party. We couldn’t agree more. Attendees from all over the world got a true slice of Portlandia: tasting beer & ice cream floats, jamming out to Ural  Thomas and the Pain and even getting to stop by our own Social Enterprises booth for a game of cornhole!


So what’s next? We are looking forward to a full schedule for 2016.

Check out some of the 2016 events we have lined up:

Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference | February  4-5, 2016

Oregon Wine Symposium | February 23-24, 2016

GoGreen Seattle |  March 30, 2016

Living Future |  May 11-13, 2016

Oregon Wildlife Dinner and Auction | June 11, 2016

Green Sports Alliance Summit | June 28-30, 2016

EV Roadmap 9  | July 20-21, 2016

Oregon BEST FEST | September 2016

Rewards NW | September 13, 2016

Getting to Zero National Forum | October 12-14, 2016

Cheers to 2016 from the Social Enterprises, Inc. team and we hope to see you at some of our upcoming events!

2011 Green Sports Alliance Summit: MLB’s Growing Sustainability Street Cred

July 19, 2011

MLB teams, such as the St. Louis Cardinals, are implementing sustainability programs and collaborating via the Green Sports Alliance.

The fields of Major League Baseball are a trademark shade of deep green—and increasingly, so are its team and venue operations. As one of the first professional sports leagues in North America to put a major emphasis on sustainability, MLB is blazing trails and creating best practices for sports organizations and venues worldwide to follow.

Listening to Commissioner Bud Selig speak on the connection between sports and environmental stewardship, it’s clear he and MLB get it:

“Baseball is a social institution with social responsibilities and caring for the environment is inextricably linked to all aspects of the game. Sound environmental practices make sense in every way and protect out natural resources for future generations of baseball fans.”

Teams have been implementing their own greening programs for many years, but recently the National Resource Defense Council and MLB moved to create a more centralized platform for league-wide adoption of sustainable best practices—the MLB Green Tracks program. Teams and venues were challenged to assess their current status on sustainability. They measured and then tracked several key targets in a centralized reporting system, including: energy use and efficiency, water use, recycling and diversion rates, and impact on community (carbon pollution, resource consumption, etc.). By making the information accessible to all within the league, MLB fostered friendly competition, with many teams working hard to “keep up with the Joneses.”

So what are you favorite teams and ballparks up to these days? Have a read through some of MLB’s most exciting and impactful sustainability initiatives:

  • The Seattle Mariners now divert over 80 percent of their waste! They have removed almost all trash cans at Safeco Field and replaced them with Compost and Recycling bins. The Mariners also switched to all compostable food containers within the park, and worked with their composting facility to generate “Safeco Field Compost” to give away to fans on Earth Day 2011.
  • The 2011 MLB All-Star Game festivities are in Phoenix this year, and together with the National Resource Defense Council, MLB and the Arizona Diamondbacks are really pulling out all the stops. Among other things, All-Star Game events will be offset with “Green-e Certified” renewable energy credits and fans will be provided with tips through out the week to live more sustainably. Even the red carpet is getting the green treatment—it will be made with 100 percent post-industrial recycled nylon yard.
  • The Diamondbacks also installed a cutting-edge solar shade covering 17,000+ sq. ft. of Chase Field’s plaza. It not only provides cover from the intense Arizona sun, but also generates solar power for the field’s facilities.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals host Green Week each year in order to educate Cardinals fans about the teams green initiatives and encourage them to take steps to be more sustainable in their daily lives as well. Green Week 2011 at Busch Stadium featured an electronics recycling drive and the offsetting of energy use with RECs (renewable energy credits) for the entire week’s games. The Cardinals also boast a 30 percent waste diversion rate and have lowered energy use over 15 percent in the past five years thanks to their ongoing “4 A Greener Game” program.
  • The Texas Rangers are irrigating their field with surrounding lake water and collecting grass clipping to spread as mulch or put alongside creeks to hold bare soil. They’ve also substantially increased game day recycling efforts by providing 120+ recycling bins around the ballpark and ensuring all trash collected from the stands after games is sorted for recyclable items.

So next time you’re in the mood for a family friendly, and likely eco-friendly, summer activity, consider supporting MLB’s sustainability efforts by taking in a game at your nearest ballpark (via public transit where possible!) and taking advantage of their green initiatives.

Fans in Portland, Oregon and the surrounding area can also learn more about the success and potential of sustainability programs at professional sports organizations at the Green Sports Alliance Summit Opening Program and Reception, August 1, 2011 at Gerding Theater. This event is open to the public and features speakers from the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA), Seattle Mariners (MLB), St. Louis Cardinals (MLB), Nike, NBA and more.

Registration for the Green Sports Alliance Summit Opening Program is required. Cost to attend is $35/$20 for students with a valid ID. For more information, please visit the event website.

Green Sports Summit 2011: Mariners’ Scott Jenkins Steps up to the Plate for Sustainability in Sports

June 18, 2011

Photo Credit: Liam Moriarty / KPLU News

As Vice President of Operations of the Seattle Mariners, Scott Jenkins is out on the front lines of their entire operations system—reducing waste, increasing efficiency and making investments that meet the triple bottom line (addressing people, planet AND profit). He and his team saved the Mariners organization $1.2 Million over the course of just four years through energy efficiency and waste reduction alone—not too shabby. Jenkins is also spearheading the Mariner’s involvement in the Green Sports Alliance and will be speaking on behalf of the organization at the Green Sports Alliance Summit this August. We sat down with Scott to talk shop on how he was able to make such significant impact in a short period of time and what lessons he’ll bring to the Summit to share with his fellow sports professionals.

Social Enterprises: How did the Mariners get involved with the Green Sports Alliance? Why does your organization feel it’s important to be involved in the early wave of collaboration with the industry?
Scott Jenkins: In the fall of 2009, Jason Twill from Vulcan Development (Paul Allen’s development company) reached out to Dr. Allen Hershkowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC) to discuss the greening of the Sounders, Seahawks, and Trail Blazers. Allen suggested including me in the discussion. Allen and I worked together on the Philadelphia Eagles “Go Green” program shortly after Lincoln Financial Field opened in 2003. As we planned our first workshop, it became apparent that we shouldn’t stop there, so we soon invited the Storm and Canucks. We’ve been meeting quarterly ever since and have expanded the concept to include any professional team and venue which has spawned the Green Sports Alliance.

I’ve seen the progress that MLB has made where we tripled the amount of recycling being done in just 3 years. Similar opportunities exist in conserving energy and water as well as dealing with supply chain issues. It all starts with metrics. Immediate results followed once we started tracking and sharing data. Benchmarking performance of our peers and sharing better practices is key to driving change.

The Green Sports Alliance is simply an extension of that thinking. The biggest opportunity we have is the potential to influence the public through our brands and venues. We’ve got to make it cool to conserve. It’s been just the opposite for fartoo long, and I believe a growing sector of the public is starting to come to this realization. The Green Sports Alliance provides a huge opportunity to improve our operations but more importantly influence the public. How could you pass on that opportunity?

SE: How are sports teams particularly suited to promote sustainable, responsible community citizenship?
SJ: CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) has been a big part of professional sports for a long time. Greening sports is relatively new to the mix but increasingly important. We can use our brands and iconic venues to get people to think about what they can do at work, at home, at school, and at play to lead the kind of behavioral change in society that’s needed to begin addressing the environmental issues we face.

SE: Your rate of recycling has increased substantially in recent years. A lot of people tackle waste because it seems like a low hanging fruit, but are you seeing benefits from a profit standpoint? Are your efforts saving the Mariners money?
SJ: Fortunately for us, we’ve been able to make the business case for it and there are a couple of ways we’ve done that. One concerns the sheer cost of getting rid of the waste.

For us, it costs less to recycle than it does to send something to the landfill. So last year, with an average diversion rate of over 70 percent on waste, we saved about $70,000 just by recycling. That’s a pretty good business case. Now that changes based on where you live and what it costs to send things to the landfill, but we’re able to benefit from the fact that we’ve seen growth here in terms of facilities that can handle our compostable waste in an economical way. So it makes direct bottom line sense for our club to do that and it also greens our brand—which ultimately makes bottom line sense as well.

SE: Did waste seem like a natural place to start? Or did you go through an analysis and strategic planning process of some kind?
SJ: It started with data. Fortunately, before I came to Seattle, the data was being kept on energy and water use and recycling rates. So I had the numbers in hand. When I first took a look at the baseline, I immediately saw room to get better from what we’d done historically with those three areas—energy use, water use and recycling.

The first year, I looked at the resource use and thought we could save $100,000 in year one alone if we considered what we’d used in the first six or seven years of being in the building and stuck to a goal of keeping to the low end of usage at all times. We found that $100,000 of savings in the first six months and ended up saving around $274,000 in that year compared to the previous one. After that it became pretty obvious that there were some tremendous opportunities to save money by being more efficient—turning off equipment, using automation, setting back temperatures, decommissioning equipment once the season was over, weather stripping and faucet aerators—without actually investing any real money. I knew we were on to something pretty big.

SE: Do you see non-professional sports teams (i.e. colleges and high schools) benefitting from your model of waste reduction and efficiency?
SJ: Absolutely. I even see the Green Sports Alliance influencing the kids soccer game, local swim meets and little league games too. What kid doesn’t look up to professional athletes and teams? We represent the pinnacle of athletic performance and there’s no reason we can’t do the same for environmental performance.

SE: Do you think instituting sustainable practices at work affects the organization? More than influencing the fans, do the ballpark employees and the players benefit?
SJ: Yes. Our efforts in reducing environmental impacts have provided a sense of pride and accomplishment to a wide range of employees. We celebrate the fact that we now recycle 80 percent of our waste and have reduced our natural gas use by 60 percent and electric use by 30 percent. Employees are engaged and involved in making a difference. The ballpark is also a healthier workplace due to the benefits of adopting green cleaning practices. Now, if we could only get everyone walking or riding their bike to work—we’d do the planet a big favor and need fewer trips to the gym to stay in shape.

Scott Jenkins is the Vice President of Ballpark Operations for the Seattle Mariners baseball team. He’s also a founding member representative for the Green Sports Alliance and featured speaker at the Green Sports Alliance Summit, August 1-3, 2011 in Portland, Oregon. For more information on the Green Sports Alliance Summit, please visit:

Green Sports Alliance + Summit

May 3, 2011

Seattle Mariners' Safeco Field (Photo Credit:

A few weeks back the sports, we got a well-reported look at how sustainability is taking hold in the sports world. A small cadre (perhaps akin to Margaret Mead’s small, thoughtful group of concerned citizens) of professional teams announced they have banded together to prove that not only can professional sports teams be sustainable operations—but that a lot of money can be saved doing so (we learned from VP of Ballpark Operations Scott Jenkins at GoGreen Seattle that the Mariners have saved millions from relatively simple efficiency measures). Showcasing teams from all  six major professional leagues in the US (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS, and WNBA), the Green Sports Alliance takes a decidedly sustainable perspective to the social responsibility advocacy embraced by pro sports organizations.

We, for one, couldn’t be more excited—except that we are. In addition to choosing the Pacific Northwest as a home base, the Green Sports Alliance has also chosen to hold their inaugural Green Sports Summit in the fair city of Portland and we’re honored to be involved. Stay tuned for more details. This is going to be a good one!